Right now the transportation industry is at a crossroads, and it’s a dynamite time to be a transportation content writer. You’ve got the soon-to-be old school method of driving a car versus the innovative concept of self-driving cars. Then there is the exodus of rural drivers to urban centers, coupled with new ways of dealing with fossil fuel use and diesel emissions. All of this has toppled the traditional transportation model for the US and sparked many conversations. These conversations drive me to read, research, and report on the following fire-starter topics in transportation.
Whether or not you believe in climate change, natural resources have a limit, and we could reach that limit sooner than we think. And as you know, when dealing with supply and demand, an increase in demand and lack of supply drives up the cost. Plus, in the transportation sector, fuel expenses are the biggest burden of any business, big or small.
For example, in the trucking industry, fuel expenses account for 38 percent of total operating costs. That’s more than a third. When you are talking about raising diesel prices, this causes smaller trucking companies to go caput; they simply can’t cope with the decrease in revenue in operations.
There’s also a great deal to do with contracted rates and prorated shipping costs, which force small-to-medium size companies in freight transport to consolidate, merge, or close up shop—every single day. It’s little wonder that there aren’t enough truck drivers to account for the number of freight hauls ready to transport, since the number of trucking employees is constantly fluctuating.
This brings up another sweeping reason why transportation providers are going the way of the electric vehicle and fuel-efficient technologies. These businesses are less concerned with conserving resources—and far more interested in conserving their expenses. By using devices that help public transit buses, tractor-trailers, taxi cabs, and the like to conserve fuel, these types of companies are saving big bucks. It’s interesting to see how this side of the fuel economy coin has come to be a part of the solution for climate change.
Next, we have technologies, which are the top dogs of transportation, whether you’re talking about reducing fuel use or creating an automated big rig. This is also where you get the most heat generated among those within the transportation industry. Do you put truck drivers behind the wheel of a big rig operated via a handheld tablet? After all, that’s 80,000 pounds of steel and freight shooting down the highway. Can Siri handle that kind of task? Is it worth the investment in this technology to find out?
Americans and Automation
What about automobile drivers? Are we ready for a Jetson-like society where we hop in a person mover and take a nap, eat our breakfast, watch the news, or read all those bestselling novels collecting dust on our bedside tables? Will Americans, those hot-blooded individuals who define status by the type of car they drive, go for a Google-powered autonomous auto?
What will that do to our rites of passages when teens no longer need to borrow Mom’s car to take a driver’s license exam, or when soccer moms forgo purchasing the inevitable SUV? America is the country that created automobiles, and our expansive stretch of soil from sea to shining sea has been made accessible with a tank full of fuel and a few days of road tripping.
Electronic Logging and Tracking Systems
Another hugely controversial topic currently covered by transportation content marketing news is e-logging and dashcams. E-logging is an electronic logging system required by all commercial drivers throughout the US. If a driver has a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and they report to the Department of Transportation (DOT), then they are required to monitor their hours of service using these e-logs, as of December 18, 2017.
There has been a lot of noise, particularly from over-the-road truck drivers, regarding this federal regulation. The majority of drivers want to avoid being monitored by e-logging devices, which show when, where, how, and what a driver is doing on the roads at all times—even when the driver is off-duty. Is an e-logging system a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution? That is what several trucking advocate groups believe.
Then you have dashboard cameras that capture every single movement of a driver and their passengers and passersby. Yes, this transportation technology offers perks and plusses. But at what cost of privacy? Just like police-mounted body cameras, dash cams are viewed as an asset for safety.
Yet those being watched like Big Brother beg to differ. For example, what if the dash cams are used against a public transportation driver, rather than to protect him or her? There’s also the concern of misinterpreting video footage, which could be just as problematic for both parties as not having the cameras at all.
Transportation Writing Insights
As I check out my Google Alerts for the day to see what’s happening in transportation content marketing news, I’m always searching for the next big insight. Whether I use my personal background in the trucking industry or I go down a long dirt road of research on a specific topic, transportation writing tips lead the way.
So here’s my advice to you if you are looking to hire transportation writers: transportation is all over the place right now. Start by splicing the industry to find your focus. Choose a niche, like trucking or public transit, and read up on everything you can within that industry. Give yourself a platform on which to stack ideas, topics, and the latest transportation content marketing news.
Load up on publications and news feeds featuring press releases and company blogs for your industry. Then, become a data repository and digest all that information so you can create something original, fresh, and innovative. This is what your audience wants to read, rather than the same news stories regurgitated across the industry.
Trust me on this one. It’ll help you continue your content writing journey and keep you from running out of fuel before you reach your deadlines.
About the author
Miranda B specializes in travel writing with a focus on cultural aspects including the truck driving industry, ecotourism, road trips, solo female travel, and culinary delights from every plate on earth. As a freelance writer Miranda is equally interested in all aspects of creative nonfiction, whether writing product descriptions, press releases, website content or rock-and-roll trivia questions.